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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reducing Expenses: TV Unbound

Front view of a Series 2 Tivo unitImage via Wikipedia We don't have cable or satellite anymore. We ended our TiVO subscription, though we watched everything through TiVO for a number of years. These eliminations have saved us $80 a month--money we couldn't afford to spend.

Yet, we were able to watch the Olympics, the conventions, and our favorite TV shows--legally.

How? My husband likes to call it "TV Unbound." We have an extra laptop since I don't need it for business any longer. Through the network websites (ABC, CBS, NBC), premium channel websites (CNN, Discovery, Disney), and aggregator websites, we are able to watch almost any show we used to record on TiVO. The few shows that are not available for free are usually available for purchase through iTunes, and while we aren't spending ANY money on entertainment right now, it would certainly be cheaper to buy a show occasionally than to pay for satellite, cable, or FIOS TV service.

Our most used is Hulu, which is affiliated with NBC, but carries shows from other sources including golden oldies. We're introducing our kids to The Partridge Family!

We've been able to watch what we want, when we want for basically no cost. We can no longer fast forward through commercials, but they are shorter and less frequent then on broadcast TV. We can still pause the program to talk to each other at our convenience, which, in my opinion, turns TV watching from mindless activity to a social event.

After all, the down-trodden and debt-ridden may need to escape more than your average bear.

Polly's Pointers

1. Look at your TV services and call your provider to see if they can lower your rates by packaging with internet or phone service.

2. Consider a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) card for your computer so you don't have to pay monthly service fees for time shifting to TiVO or other DVR services.

3. Eliminate channels you never watch.

4. Consider ditching premium TV altogether!

Since this post was published, we've changed our thinking about saving money on TV service. See how here
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